Read just about any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and this is the answer you will find. And of course the project will bring significant benefits or we wouldn’t be contemplating it. #Duh
But think about this for a moment. If there are no significant negative effects, shouldn’t the environment be pretty much pristine? It’s not pristine – so what gives here?
We the public ask the assessors the wrong question. Now, I am most familiar with the process in Canada, but it is my understanding that to a large extent, EIA’s around the world approach project assessments similarly. To greatly simplify it, the question we ask those who must assess the benefits and costs of proposed projects goes something like this, “compared to today, will there be any residual (left over) negative effects after we apply mitigation (first aid)?”
The key here...
Recently I had the opportunity to participate as a speaker and a delegate at two excellent conferences in British Columbia, Canada centered on cumulative effects assessment;
Columbia Mountain Institute Applied Ecology’s Environmental and Social Assessment Forum http://cmiae.org/event/enviroandsocialassessment/
Canadian Institute Energy Group’s Cumulative Effects and the Future of Natural Resource Management http://www.canadianinstitute.com/2016/343/cumulative-effects-and-the-future-of-natural-resource-management
First let me share that both events were extremely well organized and a pleasure to be a part of. Both Hailey Ross (CMIAE) and Elizabeth Dempsey (CI Energy Group) are outstanding organizers. Both events had excellent speakers and delegates providing good learning and dialogue from range of perspectives.
I found much of what was discussed was in-line with what I believe are crucial requirements for getting Cumulative Effects...